Benign Skin Lesion Removal
What are the different types of skin lesion?
Moles - These are very common, and most people have several. They are usually brown and can appear anywhere on the body. It is normal for them to slowly grow darker over the years.
Tags - Skin tags are small flaps of loose tissue. They are harmless although can be prone to getting caught on clothing.
Warts - Warts are also very common and are caused by the skin becoming infected with a virus from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are several different types of wart but in general they are harmless. Often, they will disappear over time but they some can remain for months or even years. In this instance it is possible to have them removed surgically, the most common method being through Cryosurgery.
Cysts - A cyst is a lump sitting just below the skin that is filled with fluid. They are usually painless but can become infected. They can clear up by themselves, however if it has become infected, is unsightly or in an uncomfortable place, they can be removed.
Keratosis - There are two forms of Keratosis; Seborrheic and Actinic (sometimes called solar). Seborrheic Keratosis is one of the most common skin growths in adults and are harmless. They appear as a darker growth, slightly raised from the skin and sometimes form as a cluster. There is no known specific cause. Actinic Keratosis are sometimes called Solar Keratosis as they form as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays. These appear as an area of rough skin and while they sometimes go away on their own, there is also the possibility that they could develop into skin cancer.
What’s the difference between a primary and secondary skin lesion?
A primary lesion has been present since birth or have been acquired over time, a secondary lesion is when primary lesions have been irritated or manipulated.
You can find more Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the page.
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Broadly speaking, a skin lesion is an imperfection of the skin such as a mole, wart, cyst, corn, callus, tag or keratosis. The vast majority of these are benign, meaning that they are harmless. Occasionally however they can become cancerous. These are usually identifiable by changes in appearance or becoming irritated and you should seek medical advice immediately.
Though harmless, some benign skin lesions can be uncomfortable or cause irritation, for example if they are prone to catching on clothing, and therefore removing them is preferable. In most instances though, the removal is carried out purely for cosmetic reasons, especially when the lesion is in a prominent place such as the face or neck, arms or legs.
There are several ways skin lesions can be removed depending on the type of lesion and the location on the body. Typically, the removals are relatively quick procedures performed under local anaesthetic and there is no need for a stay in hospital.
Excision (Complete Removal)
This is performed under local anaesthetic and involves the entire lesion being cut away from the skin with a scalpel. Often the surrounding area is also cut away to ensure the complete removal. The wound is then closed with adhesive strips or stitches.
Partial Removal (shave)
This procedure is used when the lesion protrudes from the skin such as skin tags. The lesion is effectively shaved back so that it is level with the surrounding skin.
Liquid Nitrogen is used to freeze the lesion and destroy the offending tissue. Shortly afterwards a blister will form which will drop after approximately a week. The wound will heal and there shouldn’t be a scar.
Curettage (Scooping away)
Curettage is a procedure used on smaller skin lesions using a tool called a curette - a sharp instrument with a circular cutting edge. Where the skin lesion is softer than the normal skin surrounding it, the lesion’s tissue can be easily scooped out and removed.
Photodynamic Light Therapy
This is a non-invasive and effective treatment. A photosensitising agent is applied to the lesion and then a light shone on the area. This then causes the agent to react and kills the offending cells. There is usually little or no scarring following the procedure although your skin will remain sensitive to sunlight for 48 hours after the procedure so additional precautions should be taken.
The cost of your treatment will depend on a number of factors. We will be able to give you a full breakdown of costs following your initial consultation.
You will be able to go home the same day as your procedure, as soon as you feel ready. As the wounds are quite small then you will be able to resume normal activities quite quickly, however care should be taken to keep the wound clean and to avoid agitating it. For some procedures, there may be a follow up consultation, and some may require a second visit to remove any stitches.
As with any surgical procedure, there is the small risk of infections. More specifically, the risks related to these procedures are quite low due to their relatively minor nature and include:
- temporary numbness or tingling in the skin
- a minor change in the appearance of the skin, either lighter or darker